Navigating a personal injury claim from start to finish is time consuming and complicated. That’s why so many personal injury victims hire Tiernan & Co. Solicitors to help them through the process. The majority of personal injury claims do not go to court. They are settled. A settlement means that the Defendant offers the Plaintiff an amount of money to settle the case and the Plaintiff accepts the amount. Here’s what you need to know about the process of receiving compensation for your personal injury.
Filing a Claim with the Injuries Board
Personal injury cases, except for injuries caused by medical negligence, do not start in court. First, a claim must be filed with the Injuries Board. The Injuries Board is an agency that determines the compensation that, in their opinion, should be paid to a person who received a personal injury. The Injuries Board doesn’t look at fault.
First, the injured person must submit their personal injuries claim. They should include a medical report and proof of any special damages. Special damages include out of pocket expenses and losses that resulted from the injury. If you lost time from work because of the personal injury, that may be submitted as a special damage.
Next, the Injuries Board contacts the other party to ask if they are willing to allow the Injuries Board to assess the value of the injuries. If they say yes, the assessment moves forward. If they say no, the Injuries Board will immediately close their file. The injured person receives an authorisation from the Injuries Board. The authorisation must be received before the injured person may file their claim with the court.
Choosing a Personal Injury Solicitor
Most people who file a claim with the Injuries Board choose a personal injuries solicitor to help protect their best interests, to provide guidance, and to help ensure that they get the compensation that they are entitled to receive.
Your personal injury solicitor should be experienced. They should have a record of successfully representing personal injury victims. You should also be comfortable speaking with your solicitor because they will need to know all of the facts involved, information about your injuries, and all of the expenses you’ve had because of your injuries. Your solicitor will need to know which medical treatments you had and where you received them. In addition to physical injuries, you will also need to detail any psychological or emotional problems you’ve developed because of the accident or incident. Your personal injuries solicitor must be prepared to collect evidence on your behalf.
It is important that you have calculated the expenses caused by the injuries you received. These may include doctors’ bills, medications, home assistance, medical devices that help you be more independent, transportation costs if you are unable to drive, lost wages, and other expenses.
Settling Your Personal Injury Claim
Most personal injury claims do not make it to court because they are settled. Sometimes, the settlement is reached right before the trial is scheduled to start or even on the day of trial. A settlement is when the Defendant offers a sum of money to you as the victim and you accept the offer. If you are open to settling your personal injury case outside of court, your solicitor will work to schedule a settlement meeting with the Defendant before the trial begins.
During the settlement meeting, your solicitor will inform you how your rights and interests will be affected if you choose to accept a settlement. Your solicitor will also advise you about your likelihood of success if you decide to go to trial to seek more money than is being offered as a settlement.
If a settlement cannot be reached, you may continue to trial.
Court Awards for Personal Injury Claims
Your case may be heard by the District Court, the Circuit Court or the High Court. The court that hears your case will depend on how much you believe the Defendant should pay you for your injuries.
Your personal injury solicitor will help you determine the value of your case. The solicitor will review all of the facts surrounding your case including the nature and severity of your injuries, how your injuries may affect you in the future, and the financial impact caused by the injury.
Personal injury claims worth €15,000 or less are heard by the District Court. Claims worth more than District Court claims but less than €60,000 are heard by the Circuit Court. The High Court has unlimited power in regards to awarding damages.
What to Expect in Court
If your personal injury claim isn’t settled, a trial will be scheduled with the appropriate court. How your case will be structured will depend on whether the Defendant admits to causing your injuries.
When a defendant does not admit to being at fault, the trial will be structured as followed:
- Your solicitor will explain the nature of your case and injuries to the judge;
- Medical evidence may be given by your doctor about your injuries;
- You may be called to give evidence about the accident and your injuries. The Defendant’s solicitor may cross-examine you;
- Witnesses may be called on your behalf. They may be cross-examined;
- The Defendant is allowed to call witnesses. Those witnesses may be cross-examined by your solicitor.
Once all witnesses have been called, solicitors are allowed to make legal arguments to the judge. These legal arguments may place emphasis on certain evidence.
The judge will make a decision about:
- The fault of the Defendant;
- Whether the Defendant must pay damages;
- Who pays the costs. Generally, if you win the case, the Defendant is ordered to pay your part and party costs along with their own.
If the Defendant admits they are at fault and if you are not happy with an offered settlement, the court will review the involved information and make a determination only regarding the damages.
The judge determines the amount of your compensation by considering medical reports and may also hear evidence from medical professionals about your injuries. You may still be called as a witness to discuss your injuries.
Financial Compensation for Your Personal Injuries
You are awarded financial compensation for your personal injuries if the other party or parties were either partly or fully to blame for the accident that caused your injuries. In the case of the Defendant(s) being partially to blame, it is known as contributory negligence. Under this legal theory, the court decides how much of the blame each person will receive. If you are found 15% responsible for your injuries and the other party is found 85% for your injuries, the court would award you 85% of the value of the injuries.
Financial compensation falls into two categories: general and special damages.
General damages is compensation for the pain, suffering and inconvenience you experienced and may continue to experience because of the accident. The court estimates the severity of your injuries by reviewing medical evidence. The court will also consider the pain you’ve suffered and how you may do in the future. Those are the factors used in determining your general damages award.
Special damages is compensation for your financial expenses as a result of the accident. It includes past expenses, current expenses, and future expenses. This could include medical expenses, replacement cost for your vehicle, lost wages, travel expenses, and more. You may need to produce receipts and bills to prove your expenses. Make sure that you keep a file of these items.
How Long Does It Take to Receive the Award?
It takes around six to eight weeks to receive your award. It is usually paid by cheque by the Defendant and is sent to your solicitor.
Tiernan & Co. Solicitors are experienced personal injury solicitors in Dublin. To get immediate advice related to your potential personal injury claim, call us on 01-6622822 or use our contact form for an immediate call back from a solicitor.
What our Clients say:
K.D. Dublin 07/07/2013
“I was very happy with the services of Tiernan & Co, and in fact have recommended their services to two friends since my claim settled.”
S.M. Louth 20/01/2013
“When I was involved in a road traffic accident, I was unsure what to do. From the first time I contacted Tiernan & Co Solicitors until my case was finalised all members of staff kept me updated. They kept things simple, so it was easy for me to understand all aspects of my claim.”
N.G. Dublin 2 01/12/2012
“Mark and his staff main priority are their clients, I couldn't recommend this firm enough.”
S.D. Meath 04/10/2012
“I have been a client of Tiernan & Co for years now, Mark has dealt with my house purchase and sale, the probate of my fathers estate and a personal injury case on my behalf. Mark offers a highly professional service with a personal touch. I would recommend Mark to anyone in need of legal advice.”
F.B. Dublin 6 03/05/2010
“Any queries I had in relation to my personal injury claim were answered promptly and in a professional manner and in the end the compensation I received exceeded my expectations.”
C.B. Wexford 02/03/2013
“I always felt that the staff in Tiernan & Co had time to listen to me and respond to any question I asked. As a client I felt I was a priority.”
D.B. Dublin 13 01/08/2012
“As it was my first time claiming, I was unsure what to do. Mark and the staff at Tiernan & Co helped me through every stage of the process and answered any question I had, no matter how silly it sounded! To be kept updated throughout the whole claim made it much easier for me and in the end I couldn't have been happier with the outcome.”